West African Gas Pipe to Be Extended to Cote d’Ivoire: NNPC
State-owned producer Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said August 2 that the 678-km West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP) will be extended westwards from Ghana to Cote d’Ivoire. It said this falls under Nigeria’s federal government policy for West Africa energy integration.
The announcement was made by NNPC chief operating officer Saidu Mohammed, on behalf of the corporation’s group managing director Maikanti Baru, on the sidelines of a visit paid by an Ivorian delegation to NNPC headquarters in Abuja aimed at boosting regional oil and gas output and trade.
WAGP is owned and operated by WAPCo, a joint-venture of private and public firms from Nigeria, Ghana, Togo and Benin whose main stakeholder is Chevron (36.9%), alongside NNPC 24.9%, Shell 17.9%, Ghana’s Takoradi Power Company 16.3%, Société Togolaise de Gaz 2% and BenGaz 2%.
Mohammed said that extending the gas pipeline will improve access to natural gas in the region and boost Cote d’Ivoire’s electricity production capacity. He added that it represents good news for the West African region as a whole, as it plans to become a gas-fired power production hub.
WAGP has transported gas produced in Nigeria to other countries in the region since 2011. But Nigerian supplies to Ghana in recent years have been erratic, because of past militant attacks on fields and pipelines in Nigeria, and the ongoing shortage of gas for Nigerian power plants.
Shell and Chevron have yet to make their position clear on the planned WAGP expansion, but are now reconsidering Nigerian upstream gas investment.
Cote d’Ivoire is set to have a floating LNG import terminal opened next year, for which construction of onshore connections will commence in 2H2017. Its initial throughput will be 1mn mt/yr but the terminal’s full capacity will be 3mn mt/yr, according to Total which heads the seven-company consortium developing this ‘CI-GNL’ project.
UK consultancy Penspen was contracted in mid-2015 to undertake a feasibility study into WAGP's possible extension westwards by the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas); the confidential conclusion was submitted to Ecowas on schedule last year. There have been talks since about a pipe extending from Nigeria to Morocco, possibly incorporating WAGP, but that could take decades to realise and may be the stuff of dreams.
Olivier de Souza